The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the nation’s largest and oldest Hispanic civil rights organization, challenged the federal government and Corporate America to appoint more Latinos to higher positions. The call to action was made today at this year’s 81st Annual LULAC National Convention taking place in Albuquerque July 12 – July 17.
By the numbers, Latinos are the dominant minority group in the nation, totaling more than 15 percent of the population, a proportion that continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. However, Hispanics account for less than 13 percent of the total U.S. labor force and only six percent of 384 open board positions are held by Hispanics.
According to the latest data (2008) from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, less than eight percent of the federal personnel are Latino. In recent years, a number of high-visibility initiatives have been directed to improve those statistics, but the numbers continue to lag. Despite their seemingly best efforts, Federal agencies have made little progress in recruiting and retaining Hispanic employees over the last decade.
“We plan on finding a solution to this problem and that is why it is one of the important themes discussed at this year’s convention,” said LULAC National President Rosa Rosales. “The federal government has done poorly in the past year resulting in this big gap. We are hoping the Obama administration will turn things around. We also cannot expect to sustain our economic prosperity without a corporate sector that is more reflective of our diverse citizenry. Reversing the dramatic under-representation of our nation’s youngest and largest ethnic population in America’s corporate board rooms must become a national priority.”
Across the board, the feds have managed to achieve only 7.8 percent participation by Hispanics in the government workforce. And the news gets worse: Hispanic men and women today represent only 3.6 percent of individuals at federal senior pay levels — a proportion that drops to 2.5 percent when you take political appointees out of the calculation.
The Hispanic Association for Corporate Responsibility Corporate Inclusion Index (CII) yearly surveys demonstrate that Hispanics are still underrepresented on corporate boards and upper management positions at the largest corporations in the country. For example, Hispanics only hold 61 positions out of the 1,281 executive and director available positions, and Hispanics are still facing adversity in their salary when compared to non-Hispanics. The survey shows that on average, Hispanics are earning $12,000 less for a full-time position.
“Our largest and fastest minority group in the country has a limited voice in Corporate America,” said LULAC National President Rosa Rosales. “Fortune 100 companies can not ignore Latinos who contribute a trillion dollars in purchasing power.”